The past few games, the New York Knicks have been very shorthanded with six of their big men sitting out with various injuries.
But a bad situation for one guy creates an opportunity for others. What you do with that opportunity is what matters.
Knicks’ forward Chris Copeland has been a guy that realizes he has a golden opportunity in front of him and when he’s been given the chance, Copeland has certainly done his part. It doesn’t matter if Copeland is coming off the bench to play the 3 or being forced to start at the 5 due to injuries, when he’s on the floor he brings energy and production.
That begs the question of if when the Knicks get completely healthy, should Copeland remain a part of Mike Woodson’s rotation during the playoffs?
Offensively that answer is yes. The Knicks could definitely use his scoring punch and the energy he brings. On the season, Copeland has averaged 7.6 points per game, but in games where Copeland has played 18 minutes or more, that average jumps up to 13.8.
Defensively it’s a different story. You need defense to win in the postseason and that’s something that Copeland doesn’t bring to the table. He’s gets beat off the dribble routinely and isn’t a very good rebounder. There’s almost no excuse for a 6’8″ forward to average only two rebounds per game.
But Copeland’s defense has improved a tad bit as of late and he could force his way into minutes in the postseason. Since last Sunday in Oklahoma City, Copeland has played hard defensively and has impressed Woodson.
“He’s been solid all year,” Woodson told Newsday’s Al Iannazzonne. “I’ve been on Cope because I want to see him get better all-around not just scoring the basketball and it’s going to help us. We need guys to defend. It’s great that he can put the ball in the hole and he’s done an excellent job in that area but I need him to defend like he did the other night [in OKC].”
That being said, I feel once the Knicks are healthy, Copeland deserves to be a part of the playoff rotation.
He’s an intriguing player who brings a lot to the table and makes the Knicks a better team when he’s on the floor.
As the regular season winds down, it looks like Copeland has three more games to plead his case.